Oh Pareeee, sigh, what an incredible city! A weekend is simply not enough time, but if you plan it right it can be the perfect amount of time. Regardless how much time you spend in Paris, I can guarantee it will be magical. Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world. Once you experience it for yourself it is obvious why — from the romance, to the architecture, to the art, to the delicious pastries and let’s not forget — the wine!
I always suggest researching the culture of wherever you are visiting. Let’s be honest, the French don’t have a good reputation when it comes to being polite to tourist, especially Americans. Don’t expect to talk to them like you would with someone in America. To be polite in France is to keep your distance rather than try to be BBFs, to keep a neutral expression rather than a wide grin, and to only speak when necessary.
Speak as much French as you can. Making a genuine effort to speak French will almost always get you better treatment than leading with English. Now a days there are many apps that can help in learning some basic French. At minimum, learn bonjour and au revoir, sil vous plaît and merci, pardon and excusez-moi, numbers 1-10, je voudrais (I would like — use when ordering in restaurants), and parlez-vous anglais?
Where to Stay
Accommodations depend on what is best for you and your budget. Hotels are expensive in Paris. Air BNB is always a great option. In our case, we used Marriott rewards points we accrued from previous travel. We stayed at Paris Marriott Rive Gauche, which was about a 20 minute cab ride (60 euros) from Charles de Gaulle airport. The hotel was located blocks from Denfert Rochereau and Glaciere metro stations. It was very convenient to hop on the metro and get around the city. The hotel was clean, staff was professional and very helpful during our stay.
Flying into Charles de Gaulle Aiport
The best way to get to Paris from Charles de Gaulle Airport is to take the train. It will take you into the heart of the city, including major stations like Gare du Nord where you can then take the metro to your final destination. Taxis are very expensive, as previously mentioned it cost us 60 euros to get to our hotel. We didn’t mind since we really didn’t want to lug around our luggage through the metro station. If you don’t mind taking the metro with your luggage then by all means take the train, as it will save you a pretty penny.
I recommend purchasing a metro pass to get around the city. Paris subways are safe for the most part and also very reliable. When you are jumping around exploring the city this is your best bet to get from place to place. You will find the best value is in purchasing a carnet (10 tickets at €14,10) or a one-day pass (€12,30). I also suggest before your trip you download a free app with a Paris metro map for your phone.
There’s definitely a lot of interesting things to do and experience in Paris, but if you happen to only have a limited time in the city, here are a few recommendations to help you make the most out of it.
No trip to Paris is complete until you have lusted over the Eiffel tower. When we arrived in Paris we dropped our belongings off at our hotel, jumped on the metro and headed straight to this beautiful landmark. I think I almost cried when I laid eyes on it. I mean…it is THE Eiffel Tower! If you have time revisit after 9 PM, as there is a sparkling light show that performs five minutes of magic every hour after nine. Find a spot nearby and watch the tower illuminate on the night sky.
The Louvre Museum is massive! A day is definitely not enough time to see each and every piece of artwork inside. Most likely, you will spend 2-3 hours in the Louvre before calling it a day, unless you are art obsessed then you might spend the entire day browsing. The most viewed piece of artwork is undoubtedly, The Mona Lisa. Don’t expect anything gigantic, however do expect to wait to get up close and snap a photo or selfie.
While the cathedral is worth visiting on its own, it’s even better to climb to the top of the bell towers and take in the view. The cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture.
Visit the Arc de Triomphe. Providing wonderful views from the top of the Arc, leading straight to the Louvre on one end and La Défense on the other. The Eiffel Tower is nice and close, too.
Walk across Pont des Arts
This is the pedestrian bridge along River Seine that is also known as the “Love Lock Bridge”. Since the weight of the growing number of locks had affected the structure of the bridge, the government decided to remove the locks. You can still find other places near by to place a lock, however the bridge itself is made up of plastic, no longer allowing lock placements.
Eat your Heart Out
Just like everything else in the city, food in Paris is art. The tempting window displays of pastries and macaroons, the melt-in-your-mouth crepes, the delicious baguettes and endless choices of cheese and wine – they are all so irresistible. Eat, drink and enjoy the food as much as possible. You will be walking the streets of Paris and burning calories anyway.
Get your fix of Crepes! We probably had at least 1 a day because — WHY NOT? There are so many places to get crepes. You can do some research before on best crepes. I personally recommend Breizh Cafe.
Don’t miss out on macaroons from Laudree. These delicate pastries are so beautifully packaged and filled with flavor. Light, airy, flaky, crunchy, sweet and creamy are all the textures and flavors your taste buds will experience when having a Laudree macaroon.
The weather was absolutely beautiful during our visit to Paris, so we enjoyed sitting outside of some locals restaurants. We people watched, sampled different foods and shared wine. Oh the wine…I still think about it to this day. It tastes so much different than the wine here in the states. The best part is great wine is very affordable.
Get Lost in the Parisian Charm
Enjoy the picturesque buildings and walk the streets like a local while taking in the Parisian air. Appreciate the beauty and relaxed ambiance because there is no better way to see Paris.
“Paris is always a good idea” – Aubrey Hepburn
Have you visited Paris? What did you do during visit? If not, what is your favorite city?